John Terry: Lord Triesman labels ban delay 'unconscionable'

The 11-month delay in handing out punishment in the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand racism case has been labelled "unconscionable" by Lord Triesman.

Terry was found guilty of using racist language by an independent Football Association panel last week, but a criminal trial found him not guilty.

"The fact it has taken [nearly] a year, is unconscionable," the ex-FA chairman told BBC Radio 5 live Sportsweek .

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"Unlike in Terry's court case, the prosecution never had to prove intent, merely that certain words were used, so this verdict was no surprise.

"However, the punishment raises issues. Why a ban half as severe as that handed out to Luis Suarez? Why a fine that equates to just one week's wages? Will Chelsea punish their captain? And will the Ferdinands be satisfied?

"This bitter dispute has always been about more than what one footballer said to another. It shone a spotlight on the game, and the way it deals with discrimination.

"Terry left Wembley in disgrace and is likely to appeal. But regardless, the saga has done lasting damage - both to the his reputation and also the to football itself."

"It gives the impression people are indifferent to the issues."

The Chelsea skipper has consistently maintained his innocence since the incident in October 2011 when video footage from his club's 1-0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers seemed to show him racially abusing Ferdinand.

Despite his protests, and the fact he was cleared of a racially-aggravated public order offence by Westminster Magistrates' Court in July, Terry was given a four-game ban and a fine of £220,000 after a four-day hearing.

"You shouldn't have any kind of system which has got a judicial, judgmental element, which takes this long," Triesman continued.

"I can't for the life of me see why the FA couldn't have proceeded before the court case.

"Sports bodies do have the capacity to act earlier [than the courts], to demonstrate their leadership, and they should have done so.

"I just wonder what impression it gives to the rest of the world, and particularly to those players from ethnic communities who do face abuse, sadly - less than they used to, but still do face abuse. I wonder what it says to them if it takes a year to get to this stage."

Prior to the FA hearing, Terry retired from international football, claiming the the governing body's decision to pursue a case against him after he was cleared in court made his position in the national team "untenable".

In February, Terry had been stripped of the England team captaincy for a second time as a result of the charges.

John Terry leaves court after being cleared of racially abusing Mr Ferdinand

The centre-back made seven appearances for his country - including four at Euro 2012 - between the event occurring at Loftus Road and the announcement of his decision to quit international football, a situation Triesman argued may not have happened had he still headed the FA.

"I take a fairly hard view and I think we should have zero tolerance. Personally, I would have preferred that [Terry did not play], yes.

"However good he is - and I have no doubt about the quality of the player - I really think as you look around the country and talk to black players, what you will find is they respect him as a player but they really feel let down because they don't feel the line has been drawn clearly enough."